Always be Scouting
A good resource for video poker players is vpfree2.com. This website lists most casinos in Vegas that have playable video poker with associated pay tables and game locations. Although its a very useful website, its updated by volunteers, so its not always up to date. Over the past few years, I’ve found many other games in casinos that weren’t listed in vpfree2. Last year I found an 8/5 Bonus poker progressive on the main floor of the D by the hotel check-in, that still isn’t listed on vpfree2. I think maybe because this game is oddly only on the end machine of an eight machine bank and it doesn’t have a meter outside advertising anything outside of the main game screen. Its been over a year now since I found it and its still not listed on vpfree2.
Yesterday I also found an 8/5 Bonus poker progressive for dollars on the main floor of Green Valley Ranch. The bank consists of 4 Deuces Wild Bonus Poker progressive machines with bad pay tables on one side of the bank and four multi-game machines on the other side of the bank. One of the games on the multi-game machines is 8/5 Bonus Poker. I’m not sure about the meter rise or how often this game becomes positive yet.
Frequently, 8/5 Bonus poker is the best progressive game in a casino. Played optimally, the game returns 99.16%, add in a players club and the meter and this game can frequently get over 100%. I play a strategy that is identical to my 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy which is sub-optimal for 8/5 Bonus, but which still leaves me with an 8/5 Bonus base game return of 99.11%. I also make about 0.10% worth of errors. So with a 0.30% to 0.70% players club, it takes a meter of about $5,000 on dollars for this game to go positive for me to play. Since the base game edge is around 1% for the house, you can often find a 1% meter adding to the jackpot, which causes the progressive to rise fairly quickly. The bartop games are the best since they generally get a lot of action from casual players feeding the meter.
On January 27th, Bob Dancer is teach a video poker class at the South Point on “advanced” 8/5 Bonus. I’ll attend this class for fun, by I’m skeptical of whether his advice will be very practical. His recent blog post on LVA lists some of the topics he will cover in this class. I often find his advice to be less practical and more “particular”. He seems to be overly concerned with certain particular issues and less concerned with the big picture.
Bob Dancer says that with perfect play, 8/5 Bonus has a base game return of 99.166%, and if you apply perfect 9/6 Jacks strategy to 8/5 Bonus, you’ll get a return of 99.158%. He says that if you play 800 hands per hour, this amounts to an extra 32 cents per hour. Wow, what a waste of time! Firstly, playing 800 hands per hour is really fast in my opinion. I’m playing about 400 hands per hour most times, and any faster and I’d be making too many “fat finger” errors. Also, the time and effort it would take to eek out an extra 32 cents per hour is not worth it in my opinion. A better strategy is to start playing a game when the meter is higher. Spend more time making your game strategy easiest to implement.